A seasonal selection of favorites for all the family courtesy of this regular english-speaking gentleman on holiday. Nick Lowe delivers cozy Christmas cheer with twelve newly minted (released is 2013) county/pop holiday classics that swing. Children go where I send thee, throw another log on the fire, heat up some coco and enjoy…Quality Street.
The Quality Holiday Revue Live
A Dollar Short of Happy
Christmas At The Airport
Not Too Long Ago
Linus and Lucy
(I Love The Sound Of) Breaking Glass
Somebody Cares For Me
The North Pole Express
Half A Boy And Half A Man
I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day
Children Go Where I send Thee
I was Born In Bethlehem
Today’s runner is a tip of the hat to singer songwriter Bob Dylan, who this morning became the first musician to received The Nobel Prize for Literature for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”. The Duluth Minnesota native adds this to his long list of honors which include multiple Grammy’s, Academy and Golden Globe Awards and induction into the Grammy and Rock & Roll Halls of Fame over the course of his 50+ years in the music industry.
With some 60 albums to choose from, I grabbed about halfway into his catalog pulling out 1983’s Infidels. Released over 30 years ago, I hate to keep making comparisons between classic albums like this and issues we are dealing with today, but come on! Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad certainly have a friend in the Neighborhood Bully, the calculated perpetration of the Union Sundown is without a doubt for real, and this last presidential debate has shown us that for the first time in our history, with a Jokerman lurking behind her, we have a woman on our block sitting there in a cold chill, saying, “who’s gonna take away his license to kill?”
Infidels is not as great as Dylan masterpieces like Blonde on Blonde or Blood on the Tracks, but it stands up within a body of work overflowing with classics, one which no other rock band or artist will ever equal.
Sweetheart Like You
License To Kill
Man Of Peace
I and I
Don’t Fall Apart On Me Tonight
Given all the political attention (or tension) over a certain reality TV personality lately, I thought this would be a relevant and appropriate choice for Today’s Runner.
Living Colour hit the scene in 1988 with this, their debut, album Vivid and its mega hit Cult of Personality. Vivid lays funk, punk, alternative, jazz, soul and rap onto a solid bed rock n’ roll release and Living Colour deliveres it to the masses through exciting stage shows and interesting politically laced MTV music videos. I caught them at the Riviera Theater in 1989. It was a wild show and, I think probably the last time I indulged in the whole mosh pit experience. The album had a second minor hit in Glamour Boys and a great cover of Talking Heads’ Memories Can’t Wait. Other relevant highlights include the Zep inspired Desperate People, What’s Your Favorite Color and Which Way to America.
Webster defines Cult of Personality as: a situation in which a public figure (such as a political leader) is deliberately presented to the people of a country as a great person who should be admired and loved. The Donald may fit that definition even though the loudest voice proclaiming his admiration is his own. I just hope that when voting time comes around the rest of the country can distinguish between personality and genius.
My personal favorite from these guys, Today’s Runner, Desolation Angles interlaces big time FM rockers with beautiful acoustic ballads to create a really pleasurable listening experience. The cover has always reminded me of my brother and sister-in-law in the 1970’s. Hot cars and a pretty woman. This one is perfect for a train ride downtown to hit the auto show. Enjoy some Bad Company.
Rock N Roll Fantasy
Gone Gone Gone
Early in the Morning
Lonely for Your Love
Take the Time
She Brings me Love
There must be a probability and statistical explanation to why so many classic rockers are dropping. I think we are just now starting to move closer to the center of the bell curve for that age of musicians (boomers from the late 60’s and 70’s), the ones that shaped the sound of rock and roll for a generation. The sad thing is there is not a new crop of talent to back fill the void, and I’m not talking about the final season of American Idol either. The list of new musicians making really great innovative music today can be counted on one hand.
Farewell Paul Kanter…
Sherman…set the Way-Back-Machine. The date, November 26, 1969. The place, the fabled North Beach club, The Matrix in San Francisco. The band, the second classic lineup of the Velvet Underground – singer-guitarist-songwriter Lou Reed, guitarist Sterling Morrison, drummer Maureen Tucker and bass player Doug Yule take the stage. Here is another of those lost treasures, found and just now released in a four CD box, which includes the four complete sets of the Velvet Underground recorded over two nights.
On November 26th, 1969, President Richard M.Nixon signed a bill authorizing a lottery for an American military draft. The following day was Thanksgiving. The Matrix tapes are a unique look, one not seen until now, of one of the most critical and influential American rock bands coming out of the late sixties. Like many of his contemporaries, Lou Reed was critical of the administration and what it was doing to the youth culture in America. Reed’s sarcastic New York wit and dark lyrical dialog cuts a harsh contrast through the laid back west coast peace, love and happiness vibe that was going on in the audience for these shows. What this created was an edgy impassioned performance with moments of high volume frenzy on songs like White Light – White Heat, What Goes On and I Can’t Stand It; tempered by soft introspective songs like Venus in Furs, Pale Blue Eyes and After Hours. It makes for a “serious” sound experience.
If you’re looking for something to stuff into somebody sock this year, I would recommend this box over some of the other repurposed, repackaged options flooding the store shelves this holiday season. Enjoy Set One now, and then go pick up the complete box for yourself or for that “very Special One”.
Peace | Tom | Out